Introduction My name is Julian Duron. I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. I would like to take this opportunity to say hello to the Fecal Face readers and establish a new column; an open forum for expressing various observations and studies not just of my own but also those of the public. This thread is the perfect vehicle for sharing work from emerging or established artists, expressing opinions and discussing insightful topics such as fine art, photography, video, film, etc. In this segment I would like to focus on Visual Culture, which is the foundation for those involved in any artistic field or study, and hope to get some healthy feedback. This is the first post of many to come. Thanks for reading!
- Julian Duron julian(at)fecalface.com
New Genre Art
New doesn't really hold the same meaning for the younger crowd because they grew up with the internet, but in order to best describe New Genre I want to describe some contemporary channels and identify works utilizing them for exhibiting and materializing art. A channel in this sense refers to any outlet for communication among the technological variety of media such as video, the internet, sound, in other words it covers digital art mediums of any kind.
For years I have been noting the increasing popularization of New Genre works utilizing channels like YouTube, websites or blogs for promotion/exhibition and have realized these outlets are often used as a medium themselves, like internet artists. Some obvious factors such as gender, race, social class, and age play a role in the interpretation of visual media, like the difference between a man and woman watching a feminist video or how a movie about Black History would be experienced between a Caucasian and an African American. With such variety in art mediums these days it seems art enthusiasts develop a broad and generalized taste rather than preference for a specific aesthetic, establishing some sort of coherent ideology or set of beliefs for themselves, which can form a collective such as Fecal Face, Wooster Collective or a "crew". This "general taste phenomenon" is a fairly new thing, for instance, cubists made art that looked cubist, or surrealist art had a surrealist aesthetic and so on. During these periods of art, it was hard to find artists working outside of the box, granted their small minority emerged from a previous establishment, but my point is the difference now is an abandonment from specified aesthetics all together, which conceptually has been around for a while, but never more than now.
The Fecal Face forum is a perfect opportunity to openly communicate about art and establish a popular dialogue in the process. As we know, discussion between a few individuals promotes an inclination for talk among a larger group, and I believe the accelerated pace of this process, meaning the pace at which information is spread, raises a number of rich topics in itself. So with New Genre how can we think outside of the box? Is there a box anymore? Fuck the fucking box! Inside or out, emphasis in our relentless post-post-postmodern movement will be focused more on bending myths that shaped the last ten to fifteen years rather than defining any sort of framework.
Mash Culture is Old!
What now? We artists of the whatever-you-want-to-call-it Mash Culture have been beat over the head by classic myths or guidelines such as "not selling out", "fuck biters", and "DIY or die" which persuaded artists and use of technological media channels throughout the late 90's and into the 00's. It resonated in the minds of young people, which worked very effectively to motivate, stimulate, and inspire new work. The use of new media channels has had many positive consequences by re-conceptualizing the artist entrepreneur: you guys, the gallery: Fecal Face Dot Gallery (Dot Com), the curator: John Trippe, and the critic: Me, detracting from certain prescriptions that have weighed down young artists before internet technology. With the globalization of instant information exchange, and now that most people are comfortable operating inside such a vast arena, I believe we should focus on the differential rather than the hierarchical, meaning comparable differences, accessibility and open feedback rather than exclusion, authorities and guidelines for art in general. Commercial, personal, commissioned, gallery, streets, walls, floor, legal or illegal, who really gives a fuck? I think Mike Giant said it best in his open-interview a few weeks back here on Fecal Face regarding culture.
The question was:
"Everybody knows hipsters, graffiti, track bikes, etc are dead and pretty much played out. Where do you see the next trend/counterculture scene headed?"
Mike answered by stating:
"Gosh, that's harsh, Kurt. First of all, I'm a 'grandpa hipster,' and it suits me just fine. And after dedicating almost 20 years to writing graffiti, I hope it never dies. And as for track bikes, there have been hip, cocky young men and women riding them around the streets of San Francisco for over 100 years! Look it up. None of this stuff is played out, dead, or otherwise. It's ongoing. You'll see for yourself as you get older. The next thing will simply be a remix of shit from the past, because none of us are really all that imaginative anyway."
Mike's answer describes the general ideology regarding visual culture and art today and Kurt's question obviously represents the recent past (sorry Kurt). Once again one's background and age play a major roll, but the concept of get over it is a dynamic and broad forefront in a new era of art and visual culture. So much so that I believe there's a possibility that even the sav-est of savage assholes could appreciate something that's well thought out, worked, and executed professionally. Okay probably not, but it is my hope this notion will break down a few petty resentments now seldom seen, but bullshit like the conflict between "self-taught" and "academic' artists. This is obviously a product of ignorance, misinterpretation and pride, but what ever happened to "to each his own". And hey, everyone that has been making art his or her whole life is pretty much self-taught anyway. I learned how to make art from Ed Roth, R. Crumb, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes and the cholos I grew up with. Tell us what you know, or explain why you think what you think, but don't blather on about what you think you know and not back it up with a solid argument. I use this as a general example because I hear it among people online and in life. As mentioned above, this "ideology" has much more to do with taste rather than aesthetics and no longer concentrates on mark making or any specific usage of material. It provides an expansive platform for artists to produce work upon and not a box to make work inside of.
Recently, and to no surprise, these older concepts are being refined and sold by ad agencies, which I don't see as a negative thing; it is reality. As you can see in the images below, a very successful ad for the opening of The New Museum in SoHo, consumer culture has adopted most popular concepts pertaining to street art and graffiti-related work in order to establish a new consumer subculture, in this case a sort of KR aesthetic. "The New Museum came to us and asked us to do something that would have the whole city talking about it," said advertising agency Droga 5's Ji Lee, who was the Creative Director on the New Museum project. "It was really important to us to create a sense of mystery." It was a pretty epic move indeed, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this progression on the way to school over the week preceding the opening. The New Museum and formalities of the exhibition will be the topic of another post in itself coming soon.
Stage 1 & 2
I would like to share one artist's work I have experienced over the past few years, that, at first glance, I admittedly overlooked, but who in my opinion represents each thought mentioned above. The following is just one example of New Genre work so I would enjoy others submitting artists that are not only working with newer media channels such as internet, video, sound art, etc. but also representing this "post post postmodern" ideology. Feel free to leave your comments below, but try to explain why you think what you think, and please avoid being anonymous!
The internet has made identity of the exhibition completely indistinct. For instance, without the measurements and details of an image there is now way to determine medium, scale, etc. However one making video work like the now infamous Ryan Trecartin, can exhibit their actual intentions over the web, and as he has specifically done with YouTube, not only exhibit but complete work using the process as a medium (as in the quality, compilation, finish). His work in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, as in regular posts on YouTube, display a self reflective/reflexive barrage of relentless stock scenes abandoning the linear narrative resulting in a multi-interpretive series of exceptionally intelligent video performances. It may not be clear at first glance, but these videos as a whole, a compilation entitled I BE AREA, represent many aspects of the modern ideology as mentioned above. As you can see in the following videos, Trecartin poses trans or genderless characters, women and children painted with hyper-color makeup in low-grade videos performing dialogue that employs clichés of historical, racial, and child-like subject matter ranging into many aspects of popular visual culture. His warped transitions, exceptional sound tracks, jumps between subject matter, dark characters, and witty narratives make for a refreshing dose of the "anti-self." In this example I urge everyone to not only focus on the visual aspects of these videos, but also the audio. (I will thoroughly discuss my ideas on the prevalence of "anti-self" and "anti-ego" in another segment.) Enjoy!